Week 6 Quick Reads

Week 6 Quick Reads
Week 6 Quick Reads
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Vincent Verhei

The San Diego Chargers' Week 6 game against Green Bay came to an end when they failed to convert a first-and-goal at the 3-yard line into what would have been a game-tying touchdown. Two passes and two runs produced a total of zero net yards, and the Packers escaped with a 27-20 win. From a stat-based point of view, it's a shame the Chargers couldn't tie the score, because given the ball in overtime Philip Rivers likely would have set some all-time single-game records. As it stands, even in defeat, it was the best game for a quarterback in 2015, and quite possibly the best of Rivers' stellar career.

Right now, Rivers' game on Sunday counts for 257 DYAR (257 passing, zero rushing). That is not among the top 50 games of all time, but it is very close to Rivers' personal best. Rivers had 259 DYAR (256 passing, 3 rushing) in Week 2 of 2013, a last-second win over Philadelphia. He has gone over 200 DYAR in a game nine other times. Given that the year is less than half over and baselines and opponent adjustments will continue to evolve all the way through Week 17, it is entirely possible that Rivers' performance against the Packers will eventually be seen as his best ever.

Rivers completed 43 passes in 65 attempts against Green Bay for 503 yards. That puts him in the top ten for pass attempts in a single game, and in a tie for second for most completions. Drew Bledsoe holds both records for his 45-of-70 day against Minnesota in 1994. The other two quarterbacks to complete 43 passes in a game: Rich Gannon in 2002, and Matt Schaub -- really! -- in 2012.

Meanwhile, this was the 17th time a quarterback has thrown for 500 yards in a game. Ben Roethlisberger has done it twice. Given overtime, Rivers might have been the man to break Norm Van Brocklin's record.

(By the way, as passing records seem to fall every season these days, how amazing is it that Van Brocklin's record of 554 yards has remained unbroken for 64 years? Warren Moon and Schaub -- yes, really! -- have come the closest at 527 yards each. Coincidentally, both hit 500 yards while playing for Houston, albeit for different franchises.)

The single-game records remain unbroken, but the single-season marks are still certainly within reach. Rivers has now completed 178 of 254 passes for 2,117 yards in 2015, leading the NFL in all three categories. He's also among the leaders in all three categories in the first six weeks of a season since 1960:

Passing Records Through Week 6, 1960-2015
Rk Name Age Year Tm Cmp
Rk Name Age Year Tm Att
Rk Name Age Year Tm Yds
1 D.Brees 32 2011 NO 181
1 D.Bledsoe 22 1994 NE 284
1 K.Warner 29 2000 STL 2260
2 R.Gannon 36 2002 OAK 179
2 D.Brees 33 2012 NO 273
2 P.Manning 37 2013 DEN 2179
3 D.Brees 35 2014 NO 178
3 D.Brees 32 2011 NO 264
3 T.Brady 34 2011 NE 2163
4 P.Manning 37 2013 DEN 178
4 M.Stafford 24 2012 DET 264
4 D.Brees 32 2011 NO 2152
5 P.Rivers 33 2015 SD 178
5 D.Brees 35 2014 NO 263
5 P.Rivers 33 2015 SD 2117
6 A.Luck 24 2014 IND 172
6 T.Brady 25 2002 NE 260
6 D.Brees 33 2012 NO 2097
7 P.Manning 34 2010 IND 171
7 A.Luck 24 2014 IND 260
7 D.Bledsoe 22 1994 NE 2072
8 M.Ryan 28 2013 ATL 171
8 B.Favre 24 1994 GB 259
8 R.Gannon 36 2002 OAK 2048
9 T.Brady 25 2002 NE 170
9 R.Gannon 36 2002 OAK 259
9 A.Rodgers 27 2011 GB
10 D.Bledsoe 30 2002 BUF 167
10 K.Collins 30 2003 NYG 254
10 S.Young 36 1998 SF 2022
11 D.Brees 33 2012 NO 166
11 P.Manning 34 2010 IND 254
11 D.Bledsoe 30 2002 BUF 2016
12 M.Stafford 24 2012 DET 164
12 D.McNabb 28 2005 PHI 254
12 P.Rivers 28 2010 SD 2008
13 D.Brees 31 2010 NO 163
13 P.Rivers 33 2015 SD 254
13 D.Brees 29 2008 NO 1993
14 Ph.Rivers 31 2013 SD 162
14 D.Bledsoe 23 1995 NE 252
14 A.Luck 24 2014 IND 1987
15 D.Bledsoe 22 1994 NE 161
15 C.McCoy 25 2011 CLE 252
15 J.Montana 26 1982 SF 1983
16 T.Brady 35 2012 NE 160
16 D.Bledsoe 30 2002 BUF 251
16 D.Brees 34 2013 NO 1958
17 T.Brady 34 2011 NE 160
17 W.Moon 33 1990 HOIL 251
17 D.Culpepper 27 2004 MIN 1949
18 B.Favre 37 2007 GB 160
18 D.Bledsoe 24 1996 NE 250
18 J.Montana 34 1990 SF 1949
19 J.Montana 38 1994 KC 160
19 A.Luck 22 2012 IND 250
19 K.Orton 27 2010 DEN 1942
20 M.Ryan 27 2012 ATL 160
20 J.Montana 38 1994 KC 249
20 M.Ryan 28 2013 ATL 1922


115 comments, Last at 22 Nov 2015, 9:42pm

#1 by Israel P. - Ashkelon // Oct 20, 2015 - 5:27am

Remarkable that seven quarterbacks were worse than Michael Vick.

And speaking of the great tandems as you were, when is the last time a first time quarterback had DYAR as good as Landry Jones?

Points: 0

#34 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:46am

Keep in mind Vick managed that on just 8 attempts. On a per play basis, I think he was worse than everyone but Eli and Mariota.

Points: 0

#3 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Oct 20, 2015 - 6:38am

Not a bad shaking the rust off game for "the Alien". It's amazing how he runs away from people (pretty fast DBs) with the ball in his hands. Most people lose speed relative to the "field" while carrying the ball.

The standard is the standard!

Points: 0

#21 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:54am

has anyone seen those "advanced" stats on his 80+ yard (131 yard run) td for the peak speed?

The standard is the standard!

Points: 0

#35 by bsims // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:48am

My first thought was Eddie George, because look at Eddie George. I'm guessing that's not correct, though.

Points: 0

#42 by Karl Cuba // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:00am

Donald Trump's hair? I'd like to see that on a 80 yard scamper.

Points: 0

#48 by Raiderjoe // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:16am

it sees a rodent in heat and ti will scamper 80 ayrds for some action

Points: 0

#49 by Raiderjoe // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:17am

martavis Bryant . not sure if that is real nickanem or oen created by internet folk

Points: 0

#69 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:49pm

it's from Haley

The standard is the standard!

Points: 0

#4 by jtr // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:02am

>We didn't know it at the time, but Brees/Rivers has gone down as one of the great quarterback tandems in history, up there with Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and Joe Montana/Steve Young in San Francisco.

No love for Indy's QB combo? The Colts had an awful lot of success with Peyton Manning in weeks 1-16 and Jim "The Closer" Sorgi handling week 17.

Points: 0

#5 by Bright Blue Shorts // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:16am

When I looked at Adrian Peterson's stats at halftime they were something like 13 carries for 17yds, and as you nine stuffs.

My guess was that Andy Reid was taking a page out of Bill Belichick's book and taking away the opposition's #1 threat.

Wonder if Will Allen can confirm or deny?

Points: 0

#7 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:40am

Reid has always done that against Peterson, and the Vikings have never had the passing game to make him pay for it. Of course, plenty of other teams have tried to do the same. This might be the worst offensive line Peterson has played behind, however, although some others, like the ones that started Charlie Johnson at lt, were pretty bad.

Points: 0

#9 by andrew // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:48am

In this game the Vikings had over -100 dyar from their #1 RB and #1 WR combined, -50 and -51 respectively.

Well, at least they had balance.

Diggs played a lot better (don't know his number, not on top 5) but not sure if part of that was who they had covering each (e.g., was Wallace drawing the Chief's top cover corner?)

In Wallace's defense a lot of his failed targets were uncatchable. Not sure all that dyar should be on him....

Points: 0

#16 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:27am

I'm going to be interested to see where Bridgewater ranks when the weekly updates come out. I was struck last week with DVOA and DYAR rankings of #29, with a QBR rank of #11, and it made me wonder how frequently such a large disparity occurs.

Points: 0

#77 by TomC // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:17pm

And they WON THE GAME. Given that the MIN defense is not otherwise setting the world on fire, I am going to conclude that KC without Jamaal Charles is really, really bad.

Points: 0

#79 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:20pm

Take away the disaster in the late Monday opener, and the Vikings defense has played reasonably well. Getting destroyed by the likes of the Niner's offense, however, will hurt your defensive rank.

Points: 0

#6 by jtr // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:24am

Eli's first pick last night was a classic example of how not every interception is on the QB. He put it on Donnell's hands and and LB ripped it out. It sucks that it goes down as a two-pick day for him when that first one should have been a completion.

Points: 0

#8 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:43am

I was feeling good about my belief that the Giants would be an offensive force come December, especially with the number of guys they have who can really catch the ball. Then that play happened, the pass protection fell off a ciff, and Bad Eli, arose from the ashes......

Points: 0

#11 by big10freak // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:54am

I struggled to believe that any line starting Marshall Newhouse could be effective. And last night reminded me why I held that belief.

Points: 0

#19 by Led // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:43am

Oh my goodness, Connor Barwin was pushing him back last night like he was on the proverbial rollerskates. Barwin is a fine pass rusher, to be sure, but he's not Superman.

Points: 0

#20 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:48am

It's just ridiculous that there so many starters in the league who are just helpless in performing their primary function. I have all manner of theories why it is the case, but don't have any idea whether they are valid.

Points: 0

#22 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:06am

I was having this very same discussion with a coworker yesterday. It was in the context of "how do we prevent a team with a losing record from winning their division", like Carolina did last year, and Indianapolis might do this year.

He brought up 538.com's proposal to go back to 6 divisions, but with 6 teams each, which would of course require FOUR expansion teams. This idea is lunacy for many reasons. Chief amongst them is the fact that, as you point out, there are already too few healthy players to field 44 competent starters for each team. I'm already dismayed by how much sloppy football occurs at the pro level.

Points: 0

#24 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:21am

How about something like:

Cut preseason to 2 weeks
Expand regular season to 17 games

2x 16 team conferences (geographically oriented)

You play all your foes 1x (15 games), alternate home/away each year.

You play a set of 2 rotating foes from out of conference on cycle (with alternating home/away)

Conference Champs and runner ups get bye
Conference 3-5 get auto qualification
Remaining 2 playoff spots go to teams with best records. (So could be 7 from one conference, 5 from the other)

The standard is the standard!

Points: 0

#39 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:53am

The NFL leadership and fans are still so attached to the whole "division rivalry" thing, that I don't think a proposal like that would ever fly. If I remember correctly, in 2002 realignment, they were thinking of moving Dallas to the more geographically sensible NFC South or West, but JJ said "absolutely not", because he didn't want to disrupt the traditional division rivalries with the Redskins, Giants, and Eagles.

Points: 0

#56 by leviramsey // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:52am

Taking it in the direction of college football/European soccer makes the playoffs basically irrelevant. There's a reasonably strong case to be made that the team that wins the conference regular season is the true conference champion.

But I think that a 17 week regular season with an extra bye week is a good idea, as is cutting the preseason to 2 games. The 17th game would be a neutral site (read: international, though I suppose Hawaii or any stadium in the US more than 150 miles from any NFL stadium could also count) interconference game, against the team closest to you in the draft order (which is the only reliable interconference standings) which you're not playing in the regular interconference rotation. Have 1-2 of these neutral games per week from week 2 through week 12, with participants having a bye week the week after. Neutral site games from Europe between pairs of Eastern teams would be 9:30 ET starts, and neutral site games between pairs of Western teams would be West Coast SNF (11:30 ET) starts (East/West matchups would be in current time slots).

If that was in place this year, you'd have:

  • Tampa Bay/Oakland
  • New England/Seattle
  • Tennessee/Washington (possible 930am)
  • Green Bay/Indianapolis (possible 930am)
  • Jacksonville/Chicago (possible 930am)
  • Denver/Dallas
  • Jets/Falcons (possible 930am)
  • Baltimore/Carolina (possible 930am)
  • Giants/Cleveland (possible 930am)
  • Arizona/Buffalo
  • St. Louis/Miami (possible 930am)
  • Detroit/Pittsburgh (possible 930am)
  • Minnesota/Houston (possible 930am)
  • Cincinnati/Philadelphia (possible 930am)
  • New Orleans/San Diego
  • Kansas City/San Francisco

Of course, one effect of the reduced preseason would be less-experienced backups. The extra bye week helps a little in terms of improving the quality of play, but how about an NFL Spring League which would be in some sense a successor to NFL Europe. All 32 teams would have Spring League teams with camp in June and 4 games in July. Players with more than 600 snaps the previous season or more than 2500 career would not be eligible for the Spring League or June camp, with teams able to hold back players who otherwise qualify. In order to make the Spring League games more meaningful than preseason games, a win in Spring League cancels out a win in the regular season for draft order purposes among teams that miss the playoffs (i.e. a 9-7 (missed playoffs) team that went 4-0 in the Spring League would pick ahead of a 6-10 team that went 0-4). It would also probably improve the standard of officiating: NFL Europe was quite effective at being a training and proving ground for officials (I might have a tape of Mike Pereira reffing a Scottish Claymores game in 1997), and an extra 4 games for newer officials wouldn't hurt.

Points: 0

#62 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:19pm

Wow. I've actually reread your post twice, but I can't say I still fully understand it all.

In any case, I'm usually in favor of simple solutions over complex ones. My solution would be to go back to six divisons, but still have 32 teams. Yes, two divisions would have six teams instead of five. There were unbalanced numbers of teams per division from 1976-1998, and the world didn't stop spinning. The AFC Central had six teams from 1999-2001, and they somehow managed.

You may still get an occasional year where a .500 team wins a bad divison (like Cleveland 1985), but it would be far less common. Also, it would keep more franchise's fans engaged at the end of the year as people followed the battle for the 3rd wildcard spot (I kind of miss that from 1990-2001). Of course, that leaves the possibility of the 3rd wildcard team being 7-9. But again, low probability, and at least they wouldn't host a playoff game.

Points: 0

#105 by schmoker // Oct 21, 2015 - 10:16am

Owners will never cut the preseason when they charge full price but the players do not get paid. That will never happen.

Points: 0

#106 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 21, 2015 - 11:15am

Player salaries are based on yearly earnings. They'll just divide by however many games there are.

Plus, it's an almost certainty that TV revenue will increase with more competitive games.

Points: 0

#28 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:36am

I hate, hate, hate, watching football where slightly above average defensive linemen and outside linebackers are made to look like Reggie White or Lawrence Taylor. My strongest suspicion is that the shift to passing, which began in earnest in the late '70s in the NFL (and needed to happen) eventually strengthened, and filterd down through college and into high school, to the point where the pool of offensive linemen has just become, on average, much less physical. Guys just don't learn to become maulers anymore, and if you don't have the opportunity, and learn the skill, of slugging it out with defensive linemen and linebackers, well, you often end up being a passive catcher who gets pushed all over the place, even by defensive guys who really aren't all that great. It makes for some pretty boring football, ironically enough, since the point of making the game more pass oriented was to increase excitement level.

Points: 0

#30 by NYMike // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:38am

This explains at least partially why Wisconsin has so many OLs in the pro-game, way above their "ratings" coming out of high school. Their somewhat retro-style game seems to train linemen to be more pro-ready. Alabama, too.

Points: 0

#37 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:50am

It's a shame, because even in a lot of years where they don't have good qb play, the Badgers' offense can be a blast to see, and in those few years when they have had good qb play (read: when Russell Wilson was there for 1 year), it was about as good as anything to watch involving an oblong ball.

Points: 0

#43 by NYMike // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:03am

Scott Tolzien was a very good college quarterback in 2010 as well. Stave is just ordinary (as a college QB ... no pro prospects at all).

Interestingly, Wisconsin has sent more than its share of QBs to the NFL, mostly as backups of course. Sorgi, Bollinger, Tolzien, Wilson (true, as a rental). Considering how few jobs there are, that's quite a few.

Owen Daniels was a QB briefly at UW, and Darrel Bevell made it to the NFL in a different way. But now I'm stretching it.

Points: 0

#45 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:10am

I also think that superior o-line play in Wisconsin is what paves the way for Badger qbs to be back-ups in the NFL. They get opportunities that college qbs of roughly equal talent aren't offered. Bollinger had 'nuthin, but still ended up with 5 years in the NFL. I am surprised that they haven't been able to recruit a 5 star high school qb to Madison.

Points: 0

#36 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:49am

Agree with all of the above. Evidence to suggest that you're right is that fact that Buffalo just signed tackle Jordan Mills (yes Bears fans, THAT Jordan Mills) from the Lions practice squad. The Lions currently have zero competent right tackles on their roster. Jordan Mills still couldn't get elevated to their active roster. Yet another team had a desperate enough situation with depth at tackle that they thought Mills worthy of a roster spot.

Points: 0

#52 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:22am

Muth thought Mils had talent but lacked on the technique and mental side of things.

Points: 0

#44 by jds // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:06am

Tanier had a story last week on problems of OLine play, and one of the points he had was that coming up, high school players playing the line who are good athletes are channeled over to the D side. So over time, you get an OLine/DLine imbalance, which tracks through to the pros.

Points: 0

#38 by Steve in WI // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:52am

Yeesh. Four expansion teams would be a terrible, terrible idea.

If people are worried about a team with a losing record making the playoffs, the simple solution would be to do away with divisions and let the top 6 teams from each conference make the playoffs. That would prevent it from happening almost all of the time, and if a 7-9 team managed to be the 6th best team in the conference then they might as well be in the playoffs.

Points: 0

#41 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:57am

Yeah, the 36th best starting quarterback would be hideous to behold, and only exceeded in horror by the 36th best starting left offensive tackle, after a half-season's worth of injuries. Shudder.

Points: 0

#50 by jtr // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:17am

QB36 is certainly a scary proposition. We already live in a world where Hoyer, Cousins, and a McCown are their team's QB1. I don't want to live in a world where a team is having a camp battle between Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen because Fitzpatrick and Hoyer were already starting for someone else.

Points: 0

#57 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:04pm

Just imagine Clausen lining up behind Gabe Carimi, Lance Louis, Matt Paradis, Marshal Newhouse, throwing to Chris Connely and Albert Wilson and handing off to Trent Richardson.

Are you ready for some football.

Points: 0

#61 by jtr // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:17pm

That would lead to quite the paradox--can Trent Richardson fail to find the hole if the offensive line never opens one up in the first place? Buddhist monks are punished by being forced to meditate on this question.

Points: 0

#65 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:28pm

Grasshopper--what is the sound of one back stumbling?

Points: 0

#74 by Bobman // Oct 20, 2015 - 1:48pm

Wow, 57, 61, and 65 really made my day.

Points: 0

#80 by TomC // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:23pm

Ah yes, Gabe Carimi, the exception that proves (tests) the rule of Badger linemen posited above.

Points: 0

#91 by NYMike // Oct 20, 2015 - 3:41pm

Ironically, Gabe was a great college lineman.

Points: 0

#101 by big10freak // Oct 20, 2015 - 5:38pm

The injury robbed him of his lateral movement.

Points: 0

#51 by Bright Blue Shorts // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:20am

The good news is that four expansion teams will definitely not happen because the current owners do not want to have lose about 12% of their current slice of the pie. Even with two extra games per week and they'd still be down.

Unless those four cities are in London, Mexico, Tokyo and Amsterdam or some such places. But they like to keep a spare city or two to ransom-fund their stadium-building projects.

Points: 0

#12 by BJR // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:55am

I'd be inclined to give Eli somewhat of a pass for last night. As you say, his O-Line was overwhelmed, but also his top two targets hadn't practiced all week and were evidently far below full speed. That cancelled out the Giants clearest matchup advantage and made for a very difficult night.

Points: 0

#13 by BJR // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:00am

It wasn't even really the receiver's fault, just a great play by the defender.

Overall it just kinda sucked for the Giants and Eli that they had to face their main rivals for the division with their really obvious matchup advantage nullified by OBJ and Randle evidently being far below full health. Philly's D-Line really was dominant though.

Points: 0

#15 by jtr // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:15am

>It wasn't even really the receiver's fault, just a great play by the defender.

It WAS a great play by the defender(and as mentioned below, could have been a better throw), but that wasn't Donnell's only play that game where he left completions on the field with mediocre efforts on the ball. Eli has always been great at working with his TEs, but over the years the Giants have let the position atrophy from Pro Bowler in Shockey to solid players like Boss and Bennett to the Myers/Ballard/Fells/Donnell JAG parade.

Points: 0

#17 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:29am

It can be both. One guy's primary functions is to secure the ball, and that can't be said of the other guy.

Points: 0

#10 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Oct 20, 2015 - 8:52am

Not to take away the effort from Ryans on the play, but if the throw is out either a step sooner or thrown to his outside hand, it's an incomplete at worst, not a pick.

The standard is the standard!

Points: 0

#40 by Purds // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:56am

Brady's pick-six against the Colts falls into the same category. The WR bobbled the ball up in the air, gift-wrapping it for the interception.

Points: 0

#75 by Bobman // Oct 20, 2015 - 1:54pm

Much as I loved Mike Adams's play (he came in with the shoulder first but kept his eye and eventually hands on the ball for the pick six) I thought Ryans's (all these damn guys with esses ending their names!) play was much more impressive--if the receiver was not there Ryans probably can't even get a finger on the ball, and if he wasn't there the TE has a catch (whereas Edelman would never have completed that catch). Ryans really had to rip it out like a dog fighting over a bone.

After the Brady pick, the WR probably felt "damn, I coulda had that one." while Eli's pick resulted in the TE thinking "Now I know how the serfs felt when the Cossacks stormed the village on a rape and pillage party."

Points: 0

#83 by Noahrk // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:28pm

And Tannehill's first. Funny, because I was reminded a bit of the throw Chemical mentioned Foles made to win the game against Arizona as an example of the throws T'hill never made. This was a similar throw into an almost inexistent window in front of the TE, who had two hands on the ball and somehow tipped it up to where the DB had an easy interception. If Cameron makes the catch you call it a great throw. Instead it's part of what made T'hill "kind of stink" for a while, in Vince's words. That's how it goes in this game.

Who, me?

Points: 0

#14 by big10freak // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:07am

Rivers was simply OUT OF HIS MIND against Green Bay. There was some poor coverage, mostly by Micah Hyde, but the vast majority of the passes were in the place where only the receiver could make the play. It was incredible to watch.

Capers finally stuck Matthews full-time outside in the second half and that provided just enough pass rush at times to shake Rivers off his hot streak at various moments. But even then Rivers quick release mostly stymied the rush. The ball was out lightening fast.

But for 90 percent of the day Phil Rivers was as good as a qb can be in delivering the ball.

Points: 0

#18 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 9:41am

The Chargers' pass pro must have really improved. Rivers was a human sacrifice in Minneapolis a few weeks ago.

Points: 0

#23 by big10freak // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:08am

It was a combination of the officiating crew not calling holding against either O-line, Rivers getting the ball out IMMEDIATELY on most pass plays and when the Chargers did want to go downfield SD went max protect.

I am sure that on at least 75 percent of SD's pass plays the ball was out within 2 seconds. Rivers was killing GB with all manner of short passes

GB did hit Rivers 13 times but on a percentage basis that is still just ok.

Points: 0

#27 by NYMike // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:32am

In addition to those points, the defense was "supported" by the offense with four three-and-outs in five drives (the other was a TD) in the second half, so they were out there forever. Partly their fault for not getting off the field on third-and-long, and partly the offense for putting them right back out there.

In defense of the Packers, many of the passes in the first three quarters were really well covered, and it didn't matter. What got interesting is that as the coverage started to break down in the fourth quarter, the pass rush geared up.

In the end, it was one of those games where at the end you shake your head and admit your team had no business winning, and yet they did.

Points: 0

#47 by DisplacedPackerFan // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:15am

I think Raji and Perry being out had a bigger effect on the pass rush than I'd like. But yeah SD was throwing a lot of quick short routes and Rivers was good.

Points: 0

#26 by ammek // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:28am

Keenan Allen made some impressive catches, too. San Diego is one of those teams that may be a couple of good players (CB2, LT) away from going deep into the playoffs, a couple of injuries (Rivers, Allen) away from going 2-14.

I don't care about the hall of fame but Rivers will deserve to be remembered as one of the very best of an era that saw more than its share of elite QB talent.

Points: 0

#87 by Nevic // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:36pm

Sam Shields dropped an INT just outside the End zone and a WR broke up another Sam Shield potential INT he probably should have had. Maybe that falls in your 10% where Rivers was not as good as a QB can be, but especially the dropped INT would've taken points off the board.

Points: 0

#102 by Hang50 // Oct 20, 2015 - 5:48pm

Rivers' game against the Seahawks last year also comes to mind as simply amazing. His velocity and placement were the work of a virtuoso. And it was against a Seattle defense that was still near the top of its game. Games like that are a real treat.

Points: 0

#29 by NYMike // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:36am

I think Rodgers failures in the red zone are directly attributable to a beat-up and depleted receiving corps that can't get separation when the field compresses. And since he's risk-averse, at least as far as turnovers are concerned, he tried to get too fine putting the ball where only his receivers could catch it. On Sunday, that meant putting the ball where no one could catch it. He didn't miss too many throws that were open, and he didn't miss any that were wide open (because there weren't any).

Rodgers is not completely risk-averse, though. He'd much rather throw downfield than take a check down. He's the Anti-Alex Smith in this regard.

Points: 0

#32 by theslothook // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:44am

I definitely saw some missed throws in the end zone. Tbh...my expectations on rodgers are so ridiculously high these days that any set of inaccurate throws sticks in my mind.

Points: 0

#97 by Sakic // Oct 20, 2015 - 4:51pm

I agree with this.

My biggest (and perhaps only) complaint about Rodgers over the years is that he holds the ball too long and relies on his legs to get him out of trouble which sometimes burn him. He really does like that big play over the top and so far this season without Jordy it just isn't there yet...I've seen him miss numerous check downs because it seems like he's waiting for someone to come open deep. An eight yard gain on second and 7 is not a bad thing!

Points: 0

#31 by theslothook // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:41am

Any thoughts on who the better qb overall career wise is....rivers or ben? Do ppl real think of it as a given in bens favor?

Points: 0

#33 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 10:44am

A huge percentage of people belong to "The Ringzzzz!" faith, even in years like 2005, so the answer would be "yes".

Points: 0

#55 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:37am

It's not like this is exactly a Trent Dilfer/Dan Marino situation; you can make a solid argument either way for Rivers or Ben. I just did a PFR check, and their numbers are actually pretty shockingly close.

Rivers: 64.9%, 38772 yards, 264/127 TD/INT, 7.9 YPA.
Big Ben: 63.9%, 39969 yards, 255/133 TD/INT, 7.9 YPA.

Sure, there are a few other differences, like Roethlisberger having missed games due to injury while Rivers didn't, and the former having taken more sacks, but they really do parallel pretty darn well at least from a raw numbers perspective.

Points: 0

#71 by Rocco // Oct 20, 2015 - 1:12pm

Rivers is definitely more durable but he also gets to play half his games in SD where weather is not a factor.

Points: 0

#46 by drobviousso // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:13am

Rivers at his peak isn't as good as Ben at his peak, but Ben at his worst is worse than Rivers at his worst. Other than that, I think they are really similar.

Points: 0

#54 by dmstorm22 // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:35am

This is a really good question, a more interesting but similar debate to Manning / Brady.

Before we continue, let's just agree that Eli Manning is 3rd, okay?

Personally, I would take Roethlisberger. Ben has been a very underrated QB in terms of his statistical performance. It was supressed earlier in his career when the team was good enough to not throw it that much, but he went for a super efficient low volume thrower, and made the transition very able to an efficient high volume thrower. He's had some great statistical seasons, with a changing cast of recievers (admittedly, often good players), for the most part a bad o-line, and an average running game since about 2006. He also plays outdoors, and in a division with three other outdoors, cold-weather teams that has suppressed his stats a bit as well.

For Rivers, statistically, he is slightly better, and he's also had some of the same churn of receivers, running backs and o-lineman as Ben has. Rivers at his best is just a magician.

It is honestly really tough to say. I don't know how much postseason success should matter, especially when Ben's Super Bowl teams were all defense-driven (though he played great in Super Bowl XLIII) - it isn't like Roethlisberger threw up amazing stat-lines in wins. But Rivers has been plain bad in the playoffs outside of the 2007 run to the AFC Championship. And I don't mean bad by record, but bat statistically as well.

I would take Ben, but it is damn close, and either one makes for a really good 5th best QB of his era behind the Big-2 and the less-Big-2.

Points: 0

#58 by drobviousso // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:05pm

I agree with almost all of this, and want to add that Ben's played the Ravens defense 2 or 3 times every year, and I don't think Rivers has seen a defense of the same quality so often.

But I want to take issue with "with a changing cast of recievers (admittedly, often good players)"
These good receivers lose a lot of their shine when they move on to other teams. I'll just scroll up a bit to this week's Mike Wallace entry as Exhibit A, but its true for Nate Washington, ARE, Holmes, etc. The only guy who left and was still really good was Plex.

Points: 0

#60 by dmstorm22 // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:15pm

Certainly fair - I make the same counter for Peyton as well, so have to admit that it is definitely a valid point here.

Emannuel Sanders is the one exception so far other than Plaxico, but you are right that all the others have never gotten that close to their success in Pittsburgh (Holmes in 2010, maybe?).

Points: 0

#72 by drobviousso // Oct 20, 2015 - 1:32pm

Sanders had to be born under a lucky star. Coached by June Jones in college, gets drafted in the 3rd round by an org that is in love with 3rd round WRs, gets coached by Bruce Arians while catching passes from a probably HOF QB, then takes a pay bump to catch passes from a guy who'd got a legit argument to be the GoAT QB.

Points: 0

#63 by theslothook // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:22pm

Mike wallace is a one trick pony that happens to really mesh with the steeler offense. And holmes went to the jets, where he was actually good considering the offense. Injuries and personality ruined him.

Rivers o lines are probably worse overall career wise than bens, but hes had an easier schedule. But hes also been in one of the most poorly run organizations in the nfl, compared with the steelers whove been among the best.

I think rivers is the more consistent player and that gives him the edge for me. But ben has taken his game to another level. If he keeps it up...

Points: 0

#88 by SandyRiver // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:39pm

Rivers had only 2 years of All World Ladainian T (plus one fairly good and one mediocre-minus), but Ben never had a back that was even close. Mr. Gates was a pretty good asset in SD, too.

Points: 0

#89 by dmstorm22 // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:44pm

He didn't have a singular talent like LT, but hte '04-'05 Steelers had a terrific run game with multiple backs and a really good o-line.

Points: 0

#96 by theslothook // Oct 20, 2015 - 4:48pm

Not too mention the qbs real bestfriend-a defense

Points: 0

#98 by ChrisS // Oct 20, 2015 - 4:56pm

"What you talking about Willis" The BUS is in the hall of fame therefore he is a HOF quality RB (only for 2 seasons?).

Points: 0

#99 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 20, 2015 - 5:00pm

Performance is not static. Just because a player is in the HOF doesn't mean he played at a HOF level every single year/game/snap of their career.

For the most obvious example, Emmitt Smith in Arizona is not a HOL quality RB.

Points: 0

#100 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 20, 2015 - 5:10pm

Or Jerome Bettis, for pretty much his entire career.

Points: 0

#108 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Oct 21, 2015 - 12:29pm

You all chose an odd person to single out.

The standard is the standard!

Points: 0

#104 by David C // Oct 21, 2015 - 12:33am

No, Eli is most definitely not 3rd. Romo is clearly 3rd, and arguably even 1st among this group. Eli is like a distant 5th clearly behind Palmer, and possibly Schaub. People look at the rings and forget that Eli has been in the top 10 less than half his career. He was bad his first four seasons, and has also been bad in one third of his seasons since then. He's amazing occasionally, but also really bad quite a lot of the time too.

Points: 0

#110 by dmstorm22 // Oct 21, 2015 - 12:46pm

I meant third in that trio of Top-11 picks in 2004

Points: 0

#112 by Dave Bernreuther // Oct 21, 2015 - 6:43pm

I take the anti-Eli side of arguments almost constantly, but I'd still have him over Schaub. He's capable of more when he's on and that was always the case.

But yeah, I read that as of those first rounders in the 04 draft as well.

Points: 0

#114 by gomer_rs // Oct 21, 2015 - 7:09pm

I think they're aproximetly equal with different strengths. Big Ben has clearly benefited from playing for the most stable non-Patriots team of the era.

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

Points: 0

#59 by ChristopherS // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:12pm

Can we all appreciate that Kurt Warner is the "all time" leader in Yards above - without being top-20 in Completions or Attempts?

Points: 0

#64 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:24pm

That 2000 Rams offense is one of the great forgotten offenses in history, because the defense fell apart and the team ended up not going anywhere. They probably would have erased a 24 pt deficit to win the Wildcard game if Az Hakim doesn't muff the final punt. If they had, I think they would have dominated the rest of the weak NFC field, and made the Super Bowl.
2000 Rams offense vs. the 2000 Ravens defense would have made Super Bowl 35 much more entertaining than it ended up being.

Points: 0

#66 by theslothook // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:41pm

Im curious about the other side of the ball. The stoppable force vs the easily moveable object

Points: 0

#68 by ChristopherS // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:45pm

Ahhhhh I remember that game! Still haunts me.

I was at the Blues game that night; they were showing it on the Jumbotron. What an incredible comeback, and then Hakim muffs the punt. Oy.

The Blues scored later and, as they often do, they played "When the Saints Go Marching In" in celebration. Never heard such booing for a home team goal! :)

Points: 0

#67 by Led // Oct 20, 2015 - 12:42pm

Yes, that's amazing. Manning and Brady and #2 and #3, respectively, without being in the top 20 in attempts is also impressive. Plus, how about Joe Montana in 1982(!) and 1990?

Points: 0

#70 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 20, 2015 - 1:05pm

The two things I notice looking at the yards table:

1. Is Rich Gannon's late-career explosion in Oakland one of the most surprising things an older QB has ever done? That's a LOT of yards, and, prior to hitting Oakland, Gannon was just kind of Generic Journeyman QB #3.

Kyle Orton? Kyle @#$!!! Orton?

Points: 0

#76 by Bobman // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:06pm

I look at those tables and am kind of surprised to see Luck's name four times on all-time rate stats tables after only three seasons, including his rookie year. And then I hear my Seattle neighbors regarding Russell Wilson (who is fantastic and a pleasure to watch) as vastly superior when he's only been asked to do about 2/3 as much (with a dominant run game). Or RG3's rookie year (also excellent) with Alfred Morris.

Luck is clearly being over-used and it's a wonder it's taken this long to get his first game-missing injury. Maybe Gore can bring some balance and save the kid from being an over-used piñata.

Man, is Gore fun to watch run, or what? After two years of TRich and a cast of brittle RBs, I feel myself getting disturbingly aroused by a punishing 7-yard gain.

Points: 0

#78 by Will Allen // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:17pm

I know you don't want to hear it Bobman, but I really do think the most logical thing for Luck to do, in terms of optimally managing future cash flows, is to refuse to play next year absent a contractual promise from the Colts to not use the franchise tag after the contract expires. There is nothing about Grigson or Irsay which suggests that hitching Luck's talents, at this particular point in time, to the management skills of that duo, will maximize profit over the next 10-15 years.

Points: 0

#113 by Dave Bernreuther // Oct 21, 2015 - 6:44pm

Revis is the only person in the league with the balls to do something like that, though. Luck is too nice.

Points: 0

#92 by nat // Oct 20, 2015 - 3:42pm

Those tables aren't rate stats, unless you think "X per season" is a rate. Once you realize that those aren't rates, it's not too surprising to see Luck there.

His actual rates stats are not bad -- below average for a starting QB on completion % and above average for yards per attempt -- but not special at all.

So far in his career, Luck's producing like a solid gunslinger QB with a heavy workload. There's a ton of value in that. It put him 10th in DYAR and 11th in DVOA last year, for example.

I do wonder whether his rate stats would improve if he wasn't used as heavily. And would that trade off be worth it to the Colts? Would a less heavy workload give him more chance to hone his skills or less?

He is definitely an interesting QB to keep an eye on.

Points: 0

#109 by bravehoptoad // Oct 21, 2015 - 12:35pm

Gore is the sneakiest runner I've ever seen. Somehow he makes himself squirrel-sized and then breaks out through a crease the size of a knothole.

I wish I could have seen him play in college, before he blew out his knees and lost his speed. He gets to the open field a lot, but once there everyone can run him down.

Points: 0

#73 by Mugsy // Oct 20, 2015 - 1:35pm

B Marshall has 4 consecutive 100 yard games.
The last time a Jets receiver did this was in 1968. How can this even be true?

Points: 0

#81 by TomC // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:26pm

But he's tearing apart the locker room and not focusing enough on football, right? (I.e., enjoy that 5th-round pick, Bears. Grr....)

Points: 0

#93 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 20, 2015 - 3:43pm

The 5th round pick continues to surprise me, but I don't think moving on from Marshall to Jeffery and a fancy new 1st round receiver (assuming they were targeting him when they made the trade). It's hard to point to any games the Bears are losing because of lack of receiving talent even with all the injuries.

Points: 0

#82 by Raiderjoe // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:27pm

would bet (small figure like 25 cents) some toher rtemas have longer spells ro maybe never even had a receiver with four straight 100 yard games. 100 yard games is toufh to get

Points: 0

#90 by Travis // Oct 20, 2015 - 3:23pm

The Seahawks have never had a receiver with THREE straight 100-yard games.

Teams without a player with four straight 100-yard games (with the last to have 3):

Redskins (Santana Moss, 2005. Art Monk had six games with 100 yards in a seven-game stretch in 1985.)
Jaguars (Jimmy Smith, 2004)
Bills (Eric Moulds, 2000)
Ravens (Qadry Ismail, 1999)
Raiders (Tim Brown, 1999)
Bears (Jeff Graham, 1995)
Seahawks (fat Mike Williams the last to have two, 2010)

The Tennessee Titans have never had a player with four (Drew Bennett, 2004 the last to have three), but several Oilers did.

Points: 0

#85 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:33pm

Yea, I'm surprised Al Toon, Keyshawn, or Chrebet never managed to do that.

Points: 0

#84 by TomC // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:28pm

Enough with the "Matt Schaub---no really!" stuff. Everyone on this site remembers quite clearly when Schaub was a very good quarterback at the helm of a frighteningly efficient offense.

Points: 0

#86 by dmstorm22 // Oct 20, 2015 - 2:35pm

This. Please, please stop treating Matt Schaub like he is some Brodie Coyle type.

From 2008-2012, a five year period, he was 1,540 / 2,373 (64.9%), for 18,670 yards (7.9 / 12.1), with 105 TDs and 55 INTs, for a passer rating of 94.0.

He was a good QB for a reasonably long period of time, for a team that was 40-29 when he started for that period of time.

Yes, he was a disaster in 2013, but let's not pretend he wasn't quite good for a long time.

Points: 0

#94 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 20, 2015 - 4:03pm

Ignoring the fact that he is a millionare, I feel bad for the guy, strictly in the context of his NFL legacy. He was easily a top 10 QB for multiple seasons in a row, which is quite an accomplishment. We should remember him as somebody who, while not anywhere near the HOF discussion, still had a nice career (like Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg, Mark Brunell, etc). Instead, most of the public at large has forgotten all about that, because of his George Costanza-like "that guy didn't just get fired, he REALLY got fired", spectacular mushroom cloud flameout in 2013.

Points: 0

#95 by Vincent Verhei // Oct 20, 2015 - 4:11pm

These are all good points. I will say that it's most surprising to see that he threatened the mark for completions, because my memories of Schaub at his peak are of a guy with a great play-fake throwing bombs to Andre Johnson, not so much a guy hitting one short curl route after another.

Points: 0

#103 by Eleutheria // Oct 20, 2015 - 11:27pm

I remember prior to the game I made a comment saying that Rivers is almost as good as Rodgers, and everyone treated that as blasphemy.

I felt pretty good with my stance after the game, and frankly I'd argue that Rivers has outplayed Rodgers this year.

Points: 0

#115 by jamesgibby // Nov 22, 2015 - 9:42pm

Nice match with good strategy. Hope of the best and better luck next time for the losers. Cheers!

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Vincent
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Vincent Verhei. Use promo code VINCE to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Vincent.